Tandoori Chicken

When my husband and I were students and had very little money to spend, one splurge was to go to an Indian buffet. This was a chance to enjoy a variety of South Asian meals that I didn’t have experience making at home. One of my favorite dishes ‒ like so many people ‒ was the Tandoori chicken, as it was grilled, had nice vibrant colors, and had a very unique taste from all of the spices.

Tandoori chicken is a dish prepared by marinating chicken in yogurt, ginger, garlic, and spices. It was traditionally cooked in a tandoor, which is a cylindrical clay oven. This dish comes from the Indian subcontinent and is now popular in many other regions of the world. The chicken has a beautiful reddish, orangish color to it. This color comes from Kashmiri red chili powder as well as turmeric and (in some recipes) from red food coloring. The skin is removed before the chicken is marinated and roasted.

This week I had a craving for Tandoori chicken. There are many versions of Tandoori chicken out there but today I will show you how I make it. I like to marinate my chicken two times ‒ with two separate marinades ‒ as this gives the chicken more flavor. Don’t worry ‒ it doesn’t really add much more work! I also like to grill my chicken, since grilling gives some of the char color and flavor to the chicken. I add a small amount of ready-made Tandoori spice mix to my marinade to get the restaurant like flavor.

I would recommend making a double batch of this recipe as you and your friends won’t be able to stop eating it. This chicken is also good shredded or cut into bite-sized pieces. We like to stuff it in a pita with chopped tomato, lettuce, onions, and Tzatziki sauce.



  • 3 lbs. chicken pieces ( 4 legs, 3 thighs)
  • 1/4 cup melted ghee

Marinade 1

  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder (Kashmiri)
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper powder
  • 2 tsp fresh garlic paste
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Marinade 2

  • 2 tsp fresh ginger paste
  • 2 tsp ground cumin powder
  • 1 tsp ground coriander powder
  • 2 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 tbsp. tandoori masala powder
  • 1 tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 tbsp. fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt


Remove the skin from the chicken and make 3-4 deep cuts in each of the legs and thighs. Combine all ingredients for the 1st marinade in a large glass bowl or container. Rub the marinade well into the chicken. Cover and refrigerate for about 3 hours.


Combine the 2nd marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Rub the marinade evenly all over the chicken pieces and get some of the marinade into the cuts. Cover and leave in the refrigerator for 4-6 hours or overnight.

Clean and brush the grill grates with oil or a non-stick cooking spray. Grill chicken pieces for 35 -45 minutes, flipping in between, brushing with melted ghee from time to time. You’ll know when the chicken is done when its juices run clear and its internal temperature is about 175 degrees. The cook time will vary depending on the size of the chicken. Once the chicken is done, rest the pieces for 5-10 minutes before serving.


Makes 7 Pieces

Did you make this dish? I’d love to know how it turns out! Feel free to like this post and comment or use the hashtag #globaldinein on Instagram.

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